Chris Pyne on education.

While I am not a fan of politics (at all), I do have a view on education (as I work in the field) and I think the views of the minister for education are a little naive;

Chris Pyne in the Sydney Morning Herald

Well my knee-jerk reaction to that is “Just because we don’t teach them about climate change/ invasion/ refugees/ war/ genocide doesn’t mean it won’t happen to them.”

I think that he has failed to understand that today’s children are born into a digital world, connected by an electronic umbilicus to the rest of their species (if not the natural world) and the main reason adults are failing to educate them is that we are educating them to survive in a world which does not exist any more. For example, the resistance to ‘text language’ (which I don’t like myself); kids use and speak this language daily, yet we insist it is wrong and they must learn ‘proper’ language. Isn’t the point of language to communicate? Maybe the real issue is that we (the older, 0.1 version of the species) are afraid of the speed at which the language is changing and fear we won’t be able to keep up.

While I agree that literacy and numeracy form the solid base on which education is built, what it means to be literate and numerate has changed and continues to change at an ever increasing rate. Today’s students are generally more technologically able than their teachers (I often ask a passing ten year old which button to press) and are able to access the entire knowledge of humanity at the click of a button (sometimes as many as three clicks, if it’s a difficult question). Old style teaching (chalk, board and the contents of one person’s head) seems a little irrelevant in the face of that ability.

I don’t see going backwards in teaching style as the answer, nor is trying to hold them back with us. Let’s accept that the skill base our children need to take them into adulthood is very different from the one we needed. Let them run (educationally) and we will follow as fast as we can; it’s the only way to educate minds that have escaped the prison of a single skull.

Salmon faverolles chicks at last

My chook flock tends to be very eclectic; I gather unwanted chooks of all breeds who tend to have chicks of unknown parentage. We haven’t had many new editions lately, so I bought a dozen fertile eggs (from my friend Milton) to set under a clucky hen. The new chicks are Salmon Faverolles; reputed to be quiet (not noisy) and docile (very dumb and trusting). 
What beautiful babies they are.
They hatched a week ago and I am in love.
They are very quiet; I can barely hear them cheeping in the pen, and very docile; they don’t get out of the way when I take food in to them. They have cute little fluffy bodies and a bouffant hair style to go with it. 
I will be keeping a rooster and some hens from this lot and taking a rooster and two hens to school for the kids to look after too. I may need to build a separate pen for them though as I think my wild, feral flock would be too rough on them (they really are very trusting and dumb). 

A place value knowledge diagnostic

An understanding of the place value system used in the Hindu -Arabic number system is at the base of all mathematical understanding. Kids need to understand that our number system is organised by powers of ten and there is a standard way to write them.

This is from a group produced slide show on place value learning.

I then found a really simple test for place value knowledge. So simple you can do it at home.

SToPV test